How To Sell Your Junk Car The Smart Way

Rusting old car in a desert junk yard.

 When deciding to junk your car for money, the process can feel overwhelming.  From the buyers to the Lemon Laws, the procrastination of selling can seem completely reasonable. Because most junk cars are beyond repair, have high mileage, and are older than 15 years, there are not many options but to sell for scrap metal. It is worthwhile, however, as good money can be made if sold to the right buyer. Selling junk cars for money may not lead to wealth, but if you’ve got one lying around, consider taking the steps below.


Obtain the title

 First, find all paperwork concerning the car: the title, any insurance paperwork, and history of maintenance performed on the car. Although the title is preferred, some salvage yards will accept a driver’s license and a copy of your registration. However, if selling to an individual, a collector or mechanic attempting repair, the title will be needed.


How to sell without the title

As mentioned above, selling junk cars with a title is much easier. However, as most junk cars have seen many days, it is understandable when a title gets misplaced. If a title is absolutely required, the owner can attempt to obtain one from the local DMV, as they should have it on file. Just fill out the application for a replacement, pay a fee, and wait a week for two. Most DMVs will offer same-day printing if you drive to their location. If the car is in a state that will not replace the title (this can occur if the car is older than twenty-five years), let the buyer know and include the following information in a Bill of Sale: full description of the car (features, damages) and the seller’s and buyer’s signatures and contact information. If the car was financed, the bank may have the loan in their files. In this situation, contact the bank, find a cooperative buyer, and work-out the payment.   


Evaluate damage

When selling junk cars for cash, there’s going to be damage to make note of. Perform a proper assessment to determine all damage and make a list of any broken parts. If needed, ask a mechanic to come take a look at it, so that no information is missed. Attach a copy of the list to the title, but make sure to remember the information as buyers will ask verbally for the damages, especially when on the phone.


Look for prices

Call around to local junk yards or browse the internet for fast quotes to collect a list of prices. Don’t rush this part to ensure all prices are compared and the highest is accepted. When finding a buyer, one thing to keep in mind is most salvage yards will offer the absolute bottom price for the car. Typically, the cars sold to junk lots are not repairable, and are broken down for customers looking for specific parts. If the goal is getting the junk out of the yard, than a junk lot may be the way to go. If money is to be made for an antique/vintage beauty, then find a collector or mechanic who specializes in the flipping of junk cars. If the car is being sold for scrap metal, call around for the price per pound or kilogram of metal. When calling around to junk yards, ask if they offer a Certificate of Destruction. It can help you get a refund from the insurance company for any month the car was not driven.


Prepare for the sale

Consider repairing a few parts to help it run, if only to get it to the buyer. Not only will this increase the value, but it could help avoid towing fees if the car is sold to someone who is unable to retrieve it. Other buyers will go down in price if they find they will have to move the car with a towing service. Another option, if the equipment is owned, is to tow the car yourself. If the car doesn’t run, or is too badly damaged to repair it, consider selling it for parts. Often times, selling the car in pieces can earn the owner more money than selling it as a whole. Some preparation may be required, however, such as the removal of window glass, dashboard, carpet, and car seats. Also, make sure all personal information is removed from the car. This may seem silly, but many people forget this step, or overlook an important item. If selling to a scrap yard, most likely the car will be destroyed or will be sent to an auction and any belongings won’t be retrievable. This will prevent identity theft from any lingering insurance paperwork as well.


Study the Lemon Laws

 Look up the laws concerning car selling in your state, specifically Lemon Laws. A car is considered a “Lemon Car” and these laws must be obeyed if the car is deemed unsafe to drive on public roads. These laws are put into place in order to protect the buyer from scams and overpaying, and if ignored, can result in major fines and often jail time for the seller. According to the Mileage Tampering Law, lying about the mileage is a major offense. If the odometer is not in service, although at no fault of the owner, a note must be made on the title and the buyer must be informed. Other laws to consider apply to car dealers, and according to some states, anyone who has sold several cars in the past twelve months, must adhere to the same laws. Staying within a certain price range can help the owner avoid some of the laws mentioned above. Again, check with a junk yard, as they should be informed about the laws for each state.


Sell your junk car for cash

 Any company or individual you consider selling to should be researched for reliability reasons. Be sure to read over all paperwork and contracts before you sign and hand over the title. Below are a few well rated companies that have shops in most major cities and pay fairly well for their finds. To top it off, they’ll come to retrieve the car themselves, with no extra charge.

  • Junk My Car– They claim that they will travel anywhere in the United States; they offer cash and on the spot payment. Check their website for a quote if selling your junk car for money.
  • Pick-n-Pull– Open seven days a week, they offer a quick quote and cash for any junk car, all makes and models. They are more limited to the locations they pick up from, so be sure to check their website.
  • 1800-Cash-For-Junk-Cars– They offer cash for junk cars upon retrieval, and will pick up anywhere. Downside is, they only accept 2002 to current year models.

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